Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 12 No. 3 (Summer 1998)


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Economics of the Endangered Species Act

Article Citation

Brown, Gardner M., and Jason F. Shogren. 1998. "Economics of the Endangered Species Act." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 12(3): 3-20.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.3.3


The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is one of our most far-reaching and controversial environmental laws. While the benefits of protecting endangered species accrue to the entire nation, a significant fraction of the costs are borne by the private landowners who shelter about 90 percent of the nearly 1,000 listed species. The pressure to know whether the social benefits of preservation exceed the private costs has thrust economics into ongoing reauthorization debate. This paper examines how economists can help better the odds that when society imposes and bears costs to protect endangered species, it will be more likely to succeed.

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Brown, Gardner M. (U WA)
Shogren, Jason F. (U WY)

JEL Classifications

Q28: Renewable Resources and Conservation: Government Policy
K32: Environmental, Health, and Safety Law


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